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A Day at a Time: First Things First

By Scott Harrup
Nov. 25, 2012

A.W. Tozer’s Of God and Men, a collection of editorials from his years at the helm of Alliance Life, includes this provocative thought: “The popular notion that the first obligation of the Church is to spread the gospel to the uttermost parts of the earth is false. Her first obligation is to be spiritually worthy to spread it.”

Tozer’s point was not to diminish the Great Commission as the Church’s primary mandate, but to call believers to fully embrace lives of holiness and submission to Christ. Without such a transformative commitment, Tozer insisted, any attempt to spread the gospel would be fruitless or, worse, would communicate destructive error rather than biblical truth.

Ken Horn’s report this week on the Alaska Dream Center bears out the merits of Tozer’s claim. Dream Center directors Rob and Cherise Hyslip seek to immerse residents in an environment of Bible study, Christ-focused work, church-centered social involvement, and constant encouragement from the center’s leadership team.

The result? Men whose lives have been ravaged by addictions and destructive choices find a unique opportunity to dedicate a year to their own spiritual transformation. Those who stick with the program almost always experience the kind of personal growth that prepares them to carry the gospel back to their own communities.

Such a regimen of spiritual discipline is valuable for any believer, and should be well established as he or she seeks a personal niche of service within the Great Commission. That is not to say our salvation or even our service to God is tied to our works; rather, our salvation must express itself in lives sold out to our Savior, and our service to God must be enlivened through our fellowship with Him.

Reading about the Alaska Dream Center, I imagined how my own life of faith could be strengthened by a year in residence. I’m grateful for a home church and many family and friends within the body of Christ who encourage me to keep first things first.

What similar influences bless your life?

Scott Harrup
Managing Editor

Email your comments to pe@ag.org.